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The Region | IN BRIEF / HUNTINGTON BEACH

Officer Cleared in Toy Gun Killing

January 05, 2002|From Staff and Wire Reports

A Huntington Beach police officer who shot and killed a man allegedly holding a toy rifle last May won't face criminal charges, prosecutors said Friday.

The shooting death of 18-year-old Antonio Saldivar, a farm worker whom the officer apparently mistook for a crime suspect he was searching for, prompted protests by Latino activists.

But prosecutors concluded that Officer Mark Wersching reacted reasonably when he shot Saldivar, who reportedly turned toward the officer with the toy gun in his hands.

"The officer's instantaneous decision to defend his life from an apparent deadly threat was reasonable," Deputy Dist. Atty. Carolyn Carlisle-Raines said in a statement.

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